New owners are Irish investment company iNua Hospitality, which set up a €20m investment fund in February to buy into the hotel sector, and it promises increased activity and purchases next year, with one or two more purchases, possibly within the next month.
The Radisson Blu Hotel, built around a period house called Ditcheley at Little Island just east of the city and Jack Lynch Tunnel, opened in 2005, at a reported development cost of €37m, spearheaded by dentist-turned-developer Rick Fitzgerald of the Roan Group, with input from experienced hotelier Des O’Dowd.
It went up for sale in June, guiding €8m with agent Denis O’Donoghue of Savills, and is understood to have gone for more than its guide price.
It’s the latest in a series of good hotel sales in Cork this year, following on the Kingsley and Fota Resort to Chinese buyers for a combined €25m-plus, the River Lee for €25m as an investment sale, as well as the Ambassador for €1.5m to Dublin-based McGettigans, while the sale of Midleton Park Hotel has been agreed for about €2.5m but has not been completed.
Describing itself as “Ireland’s newest practitioner in hotel management consultancy”, iNua director and financier Noel Creedon yesterday confirmed its acquisition of the Radisson Blu Hotel and Spa on eight acres, noting it represents “excellent investor value while, importantly, securing the future of the Cork hotel and its 150-strong staff”.
Having secured mostly Irish investment, with some Canadian cash as well, the company will facilitate debt restructuring for hotels and make them more viable on lower capital/cost bases, he said, adding the purchase was “a great day for Radisson Blu Hotel as well as for the future of the wider hospitality sector. Discounted values on hotels means that hotels can now, for the first time, be purchased on a commercial basis providing attractive yields to investors.”
Hotel manager Shane Fitzpatrick said the new ownership structure “offers significant job security to our staff”.